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Total number of comments: 23 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:47)


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  • Detroit's Bankruptcy and America's Future: Robots, Race, Globalization and the 1%
    • So after weeks of writing against our government's surveillance programs, you are advocating for a transition to a 21st century Marxist state...

  • Fathers and Sons and Chechnya
    • How about we wait for the situation surrounding this family to become clear with verified facts before making judgement or framing narratives, rather than making judgements based on a smattering of reports under the backdrop of the manhunt and its immediate aftermath?

  • Israel at 65: Welcome to the Neighborhood (Map)
  • Eyeless in Gaza: When will Israel let its People Go?
  • Lawmakers Threaten Brooklyn College for Event on Boycott of Israel over Settlements (Democracy Now!)
    • Not really. The question with regard to Brooklyn College is whether or not a forum should be held, a question of speech. Your description of the action was whether or not a boycott should take place, a question of action. You lost because the community opposed your action, which is perfectly fair and holds with the principles of this country. Should Brooklyn College be prevented from hosting a forum concerning unpopular speech, the opposite arguably would be the case.

  • Top Five Objections to the White House's Drone Killing Memo
    • This is a combination of breathtakingly stupid and highly offensive. Whatever problems there have been with US foreign policy, there is nothing sympathetic about people who choose to butcher innocents in the name of God. Yes, we should modify our behavior in areas where our actions are wrong, but we should not alter our behavior to address the complaints of some of the worst people on this earth.

  • Egypt: The People Still want the Fall of the Regime
    • Morsi does have popular support. He won the presidency in a fair election and his constitution, while it is not a consensus document like it should be, also won majority support. I think its clear that the religious groups we don't like all that much constitute the majority in Egypt and that's a fact we're going to have to live with.

  • UN to look into US Drone Program, but the Biggest Victim is Democracy
    • And hence a perfect example of how we get political polarization and dysfunction. Some vocal individuals on the right (or left, for that matter) make statements that are stupid, crazy, and/or simply annoying. So people on the left (or right) respond by refusing to consider the ideas and perspectives of the right (or left), if not outright refuse to engage with them at all. This stupidity leads to a dysfunctional political system.

  • Top Ten Reasons Chuck Hagel Should be Secretary of Defense
    • Seeing as Hagel is well to the left of a number of Democratic Senators on foreign policy and seeing as he burnt his bridges with the Republican establishment and caucus in his last years in the Senate and the aftermath, I'd have to agree with Graham that it is an "in your face" pick.

  • Psy of "Gangnam Style" attacked Bush's Iraq War, not America
    • This is utterly incorrect. First of all, Psy had previously performed at an anti-American protest in 2002. The immediate cause of this protest was a US military vehicle running over two schoolchildren, but there was a strong undercurrent of anti-Americanism for a variety of reasons. Second of all, in 2003, a Gallup poll showed that 75% of South Koreans in their 20s (along with 67% of South Koreans in their 30s and 50% of South Koreans in their 40s). Additionally, opinions of the US by South Koreans were substantially lower in the years before the Iraq war than they are today (a 2011 Gallup poll showed a 65% favorability rating of Americans by South Koreans, the highest in history).

      More to the point, however, it is obvious from the lyrics that Psy's sentiment was anti-American. When you are protesting a war, you generally do not come out in favor of torturing and murdering completely innocent people (i.e. the family members of those involved with perpetrating the Abu Ghraib abuses). That's what you say when you hate a group of people.

  • Americans and Egyptians face the National Security State on Black Friday Differently
  • Palestinians say Israel trying to Silence Media, by Attacking Journalists
    • So are you accusing the NPR journalist of lying or merely being unbalanced in his reporting? Because the only thing really relevant about your post to the topic at hand is that there is justification for the Israelis targeting certain sites that house media outlets because people at said sites are shooting rockets at Israel. Oh, and then there's the matter of said Palestinian media (particularly the Hamas-run media) not mentioning that fact, which is not exactly a surprise.

      I am no supporter of the Netanyahu government, the settlement programs, or a lot of the other things that Israel has done or is doing with regards to its conflicts with the Palestinians. It greatly saddens me that the current government clearly has no interest in pursuing any sort of meaningful peace process. However, at the same time, I have no sympathy for Hamas, especially with regards to this new round of violence. Hamas, the governing authority in Gaza, made the choice to indiscriminately fire rockets into Israel in the hope of killing as many people, military or civilian, as possible while terrorizing the Israeli population. They stockpile and fire these weapons in close proximity to civilians so as to give Israel the choice between not responding to these daily acts of violence or to risk civilian casualties with every strike. The IDF, on the other hand, not only makes an effort to protect their own citizens, rather than use them as a shield, but also makes an significant effort to avoid killing Palestinian civilians, both by going the extra mile to pinpoint strikes towards military targets while leaving civilians unharmed, but also by warning civilians to vacate areas that contain military targets before they bomb them.

      This is not to say, by any means, that the IDF hasn't been heavy-handed, nor that all of their actions in this latest round of violence are justified or anything like that. But at the same time, there is a clear moral difference between the actions of the IDF and Hamas.

  • Romneynejad: We didn't have gays in the 1960s
    • This is stupid. You are talking about two incidents from ~50 years ago when Romney was a kid as evidence that he doesn't deserve to be elected president. Even assuming that these incidents were emblematic of Romney as homophobic and cruel in his high school years, this does not mean that he is still the same person nearly 50 years later. Many people do stupid, mean-spirited things when they're kids. Generally, so long as they aren't mind-bogglingly awful (i.e. felonious), society doesn't hold such youthful transgressions against them. Furthermore, attempting to divine one's motives over a (in the grand scheme of things) minor 50-some year old incident based on a handful of anecdotes by people speaking out during a presidential campaign is an invariably stupid activity that only serves the purpose of making a political cheap shot.

      There is ample reason to oppose Mitt Romney's candidacy, from his breathtaking lack of knowledge on foreign policy, to his overtly political and intentionally vague economic "plan", to his willingness to say, do, and tolerate pretty much anything that he thinks will help him get elected. But his high school pranks, particularly when we don't even know the full context behind them, are not one of them.

  • Israel: No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program; Barak: Any decision to Strike Iran "Far off."
  • World's Stupidest Guerrillas Kill over 70 Shiite Pilgrims in Iraq
  • Jahanpour: As US and Iran Confront Each other, where is the Diplomacy?
    • How on Earth is anyone going to convince Israel to give up their nuclear program?

  • Obama/ Maliki Conflicts on the Future of Iraq
    • Iraq has obvious worries with regards to the US, particularly the possibility of US military action against Iran. However, if the US wants to bomb Iran, how can al-Maliki provide substantial pressure to dissuade the US from doing so?

  • Iran has US Surrounded, All Right
    • Yeah, if only more countries would follow Iran's glowing example of resisting US influence...and, you know, massive oppression of its citizenry and the willingness to use violence against its citizenry to prevent reform.

  • NYPD Attack on OWS and the End of the First Amendment
    • Both you and Professor Cole have made broad statements that fail to address the legal subtleties of the status of Zuccotti Park. First of all, Zuccotti Park is a privately owned public space. It was built by a private interest who decided to use land they owned to build a park in exchange for a break on zoning regulations for another structure. The park itself is considered public space, meaning that it must be accessible 24 hours a day. At the same time, the owners of the park must comply with a set of city regulations governing such spaces, and are allowed to establish 'reasonable' park rules.

      This creates a very odd set of First Amendment questions. Since the park is considered public space that is supposed to be accessible at all times, it seems that the protesters did have a right to occupy it. On the other hand, the owners of the park are allowed to establish rules to aid in the maintenance of the park, and forbidding the erection of structures, tents, etc. would be considered a legal restriction. On the other hand, the protesters can argue that such restrictions were imposed to restrict their rights. At the same time, the owner of the park and the city can argue that the protesters have disobeyed the laws governing such spaces and impeded their ability to clean the space. And then there is the question of the applicability of the 1984 Supreme Court Case Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence, in which the court ruled that protesters could not sleep in the National Mall in defiance of National Park Service regulations.

      Taking all this into account, your claim that the protesters never had the right to occupy Zuccotti Park and that the city and owners had every right to remove them is, at best, questionable. At the same time, Professor Cole's complaints about turning public spaces into privately owned spaces does not apply in this situation at all, seeing that Zuccotti Park exists because private property was converted into a public space.

  • It's Official: Tunisia Now Freer than the U.S.
    • Right...nice to know that Israel took the wrong lesson from the Holocaust...
      Seriously, do you not see how incredibly arrogant it is of you to make that statement. Not to mention how very incorrect it is as well.

  • Egypt: I ask Myself Why
    • No, it doesn't. From reading the article, it shows that the groups who want to prosecute Bush are saying that Switzerland would entertain the possibility. The only quote from a Swiss official in that article was this:

      Folco Galli, a spokesman for the Swiss justice ministry, told the Associated Press that the department's initial assessment was that Bush would have enjoyed immunity from prosecution for any actions taken while in office.

      The only statement from the Swiss authorities that Cole stated were entertaining prosecuting Bush was a statement saying that they felt that Bush had immunity for his actions. And when you think what would happen to the relations between the US and Switzerland if Switzerland arrested a former US president, you can easily dismiss the possibility of Bush being prosecuted.

      Your mistake in your analysis is that you act as if the assessments of groups like Amnesty International that favor prosecuting Bush matters to the Swiss government. They do not. Switzerland would simply not undertake a course of action that would clearly be detrimental to their interests. Arresting Bush would make some human rights groups with little real power happy and infuriate the US government.

      Finally, a note about international law. International law doesn't really matter to any country when the choice is between following international law and doing what is in their own interest. Following international law does have some benefits in that it scores points with the international community, which in turn can help to further a country's interests, but if a country decides that following international law to the letter is not in their own interest, then they don't. So while prosecuting a former dictator hated by pretty much everyone does not present such a conflict of interest, prosecuting a former US president is.

      The problem I have with Professor Cole's assertion is that he makes this statement which he cannot credibly source and failed to support. He then compounds this issue by making a false equivalency by acting as if there is an internal contradiction between Switzerland prosecuting Bush and Britain, France, and Germany backing Suleiman as interim president. Such a contradiction would only exist if European countries put up a united front on issues of policy, which they do not even in the age of the EU. This is why Britain, for instance, generally cooperates with the US on more foreign endeavors than Germany does. I understand that this post was intended more as rhetoric than serious analysis, but advancing his point of view could have been done in a manner better grounded in fact. For instance, he could have asked how England, France, and Germany can claim to abhor torture and respect international law yet support Suleiman as interim president.

    • I have a couple questions regarding the following section of this post:

      Why would authorities in a European county like Switzerland entertain the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture if he came to give a talk in that country;

      But, European countries are supporting Omar Suleiman for interim president of Egypt, even though he was the one who undertook the torture for Bush? Suleiman tossed some 30,000 suspected Muslim fundamentalists in prison, and accepted from the US CIA kidnapped suspected militants, whom he had tortured. Some were innocent. One, Sheikh Libi, was tortured into falsely confessing that Saddam Hussein was training al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that straight into Colin Powell’s speech to the UN justifying the Iraq War.

      Firstly, the link you gave regarding Bush and Switzerland does not say anything about Swiss authorities considering the idea of trying Bush for torture. It only states that the World Organization Against Torture asked Swiss authorities to begin an investigation should Bush come to Switzerland. I have yet to see any evidence that Swiss authorities were actually considering pursuing legal action against Bush during his planned visit. I have seen quotes from Human Rights Groups claiming that Bush cancelled his trip in order to avoid prosecution, but considering that they're the ones calling for his prosecution in the first place, they're hardly an unbiased source when it comes to explaining why the event was cancelled. As such, I ask whether you wrote that Swiss authorities were entertaining "the idea of trying George W. Bush for torture" on anything more substantial.

      Secondly, even if Switzerland was entertaining the idea, what does that have to do with other European countries supporting Suleiman as the interim president? The lead nations making the call for Suleiman serving as the interim president, France, Germany, and the UK, do not generally look to Switzerland to tell them how they should respond to an international crisis, to my knowledge anyway. Your statement implies a degree of uniformity of policy among European nations that I do not believe exists.

      For the record, I do not mean to imply that I support Suleiman as interim president of Egypt. Nor do I mean to imply that I condone his actions in torturing suspected militants and others. All I am saying is that based on the links you provided, it appears that you are attempting to show a set of contradictory actions that does not exist.

  • Mubarak Defies a Humiliated America, Emulating Netanyahu
    • Until now, I've generally just read Professor Cole's articles and didn't bother addressing the often absurd comments made in this space, but this comment is beyond insane:

      Mubarak is twice as bad as Saddam was.

      There is no case to be made that Mubarak is worse than Saddam, who started two ruinous wars and killed thousands upon thousands of his own people.

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